Sunday, January 10, 2016

Watching Tropical Birds in Klasow Valley of Sorong Regency

Sorong city is the main gateway for scuba divers who want to go to Raja Ampat. Actually, its lowland forest in Klasow valley is the natural habitat of hundreds of species of birds. I and some foreign visitors spent 1 full week hiking and birding in Klasow valley early this year from 31 December 2015 until 5 January 2015.
Bird Species
Golden Myna (Mino anais)
During several days birding, I saw tens of birds. Some of them are listed as follows:
  • Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove, 
  • Pinon Imperial Pigeon, 
  • Rainbow Lorikeet, 
  • Western Black-capped Lory, 
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, 
  • Palm Cockatoo, 
  • Large Fig-Parrot, 
  • Dwarf Kingfisher, 
  • Blyth's Hornbill, 
  • Yellow-billed Kingfisher, 
  • Moustached Tree-swift, 
  • Pale-billed Scrub-wren (which was very small), 
  • Golden Myna, 
  • Noisy Friarbird, 
  • Lesser Birds of Paradise, 
  • Spangled Drongo, 
  • Grey Crow.
I use Birds of New Guinea: Second edition (Princeton Field Guides) by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce M Beehler as my main reference in identifying birds. It has got rich information about the avifauna of New Guinea that spreads across Papua New Gunea (an independent state) and West Papua (currently the territory of Indonesia) and their satellite islands.
Birding Device
Dwarf Kingfisher
This was for the first time I brought a spotting scope Eyeskey 20-60x60. It greatly enhanced my birding experience. Unfortunately, I could not take pictures of all of the birds that I mentioned above. My camera was a Fujifilm HS 50EXR. Although it was a good camera, its optical zoom was only 42x. It could not shoot birds in distant trees. But with careful approach, I could take some pictures that seemed to be very difficult to shoot including the Dwarf Kingfisher.
Birding experience will be much enhanced if birdwatchers use good devices. I can recommend two devices:
I and Jan (one of the tourists) were sitting on the bank of a small river when the kingfisher landed on a vine that was hanging over the water. Perhaps, it was looking for food.
In the evening of 4 January 2016, I and Jan were having an easy walk around the village in the clearing area near the entrance path. We saw a lot of birds including a mother Spangled Drongo that was feeding her baby. The nest was constructed on the lowest branch of the tree. The mother bird was not afraid of us who were trying to "shoot" her with camera.
It was a really nice trip for me and our visitors. In addition to birds, we also saw wallaby, bandicoot, frogs, snakes, a lot of insects particularly colorful butterflies that were flying over flower plants around our jungle 'guesthouse' to find nectar. The tropical rainforest is really a recommended place for watching lowland birds of New Guinea.
Interested in coming here?
If you plan to have a birding trip in West Papua, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to be your guide.